CAFOD’s view on aid

10 May 2017

Aid helps people in humanitarian emergencies and can also be used to tackle the structural causes of poverty. [Photo: Eoghan Rice, Trocaire]

There has been a lot of media debate recently about foreign aid. Stories about how the UK spends its foreign aid budget have increased in the run up to the general election.

Why is the aid budget important?

CAFOD’s vision is a world where everyone can flourish and fulfil their potential. We believe that aid is an important part of tackling extreme poverty, and that richer countries helping those which are poorer is the right thing to do, and something we are called to as part of our faith.

Aid is vital in providing for the immediate needs of people in humanitarian or emergency situations. We see an equally important role for aid in helping to address the structural causes of poverty, for example in supporting those who are working to ensure countries are governed well, or advocating for changes to the policies and systems that keep people trapped in poverty.  

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Can the UK afford the aid budget?

Here in the UK we are regularly presented with misleading ideas that we must choose between health and social care for our families, for example, or the aid budget that cares for those living in extreme poverty overseas. Yet Catholic social teaching tells us that it should never be a choice between competing ‘causes’, and that we must work towards ensuring everybody has access to what they need to contribute and flourish. We believe that while we have brothers and sisters overseas living in extreme poverty, maintaining the aid budget is the right thing to do.

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Ensuring aid is spent effectively

UK aid must always be focused on the needs of the world’s poorest people. It should never be used for furthering the interest of UK trade or foreign policy aims, except where those intersect with the needs of the poorest people.

We believe in the commitment to spend 0.7% of Britain’s GDP on aid – less than a penny in every pound spent in the UK – and believe that money must be spent in the most efficient and effective way possible to reach the world’s poorest people.

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Most of CAFOD’s funding is donated directly to us by our supporters. Read more about how we use our supporters’ money. 

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